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Shady trade deals face legal challenges

180,000 sign petitions against TTIP and CETA deals

SHADY Brussels bureaucrats face a legal challenge to two hugely unpopular free trade deals after campaigners went to court yesterday.

More than a million people across Europe - including over 180,000 Brits - have signed a petition against the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that links Europe and Canada.

EU regulations say officials are required to review proposals and put them up for debate in the European Parliament.

The news comes after a new YouGov poll commissioned by petitions website 38 Degrees revealed only 13 per cent of the British public supported the deals. The TTIP blueprints will give transnationals the right to sue European governments in pursuit of profits from public services.

Labour has called for the NHS to be exempted from TTIP.

So far, the European Commission has refused to review the proposals - but a European Court of Justice hearing may force its hand.

World Development Movement director Nick Dearden said: "The European Commission is desperately fighting to prevent a critical debate from taking place about these trade deals with North America."

And War on Want head John Hilary said: "Not only is TTIP predicted to cost at least one million jobs between the EU and USA, but it will also make it impossible for any future government to repeal the Health and Social Care Act and bring the NHS back into public hands.

"There is something rotten in the state of Europe when an unelected, unaccountable EU body can glibly inform millions of us that we no longer have the right to question its most dangerous and unpopular policies."

Blanche Jones of 38 Degrees warned the deals could bring "American-style healthcare to Britain," adding: "This is a bad deal for ordinary people."

On his 60th birthday next week, campaigners will present hard-drinking EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker with an anti-treaty petition styled as a birthday card.

The stunt follows a Europe-wide day of action in October that saw over 1,000 demonstrate in Parliament Square in Westminster.

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